In the news...

This startup wants to save the banana by editing its genes

June 19th, 2018 / Fast Company

In a lab at a U.K. research park, researchers from a startup called Tropic Biosciences are using CRISPR to create a better banana. The startup, which is also using gene editing to improve coffee, believes that technology could help save the fruit. Today, the company announced that it raised $10 …

How much longer do we have to wait?

June 19th, 2018 / Manilla Bulletin, Philippines

Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) continues to be a major public health concern worldwide. It is estimated that 250,000–300,000 vitamin A-deficient children become blind every year, with half of them dying within a year after getting blind.
Here at home, not only are we not making progress, the problem is getting worse. …

Engineered cotton grows on alternative fertilizer

June 19th, 2018 / c&en

Crop feeds on phosphite, potentially allowing it to outwit weeds and mitigate pollution from traditional fertilizer runoff
Wily weeds can develop resistance to herbicides, allowing them to compete with genetically modified crops designed to tolerate weed-killing chemicals. Now, a team is proposing another approach to genetically engineering crops to outwit weeds: …

Why we need to pay attention

June 18th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:
The messages we seem to be getting all the time from our local leaders are about encouraging farmers to increase production. Yet successful farming is not merely about large quantities.
Nor is it true that big volumes always earn high profits. Rather most consumers are more concerned …

Why climate-smart agriculture is crucial to Africa

June 11th, 2018 / SciDev.net

Agriculture is a risky business in Africa due to dangers such as uncertain weather and poor rural infrastructure but a new detailed guide on the status of and opportunities for climate smart agriculture (CSA) could offer farmers the much needed break.
The detailed guide for CSA that cover 14 African countries …

FAO, Rabobank renew partnership to help African farmers

June 6th, 2018 / African Farming, UK

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Rabobank signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to renew their partnership to boost productivity for small farmers
Africa FarmingThe partnership between FAO and Rabobank began in 2013.
The partnership, which began in 2013, has helped small-scale farmers and cooperatives in developing countries become economically …

Uganda’s scientists strive to use biotechnology to solve agricultural, health and environmental challenges

June 4th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project/

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru writes:
It is morning time, we are in a hotel based at the center of Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, attending a stakeholders meeting on the subject how biotechnology cuts across all science-related sectors.
Among the attendees are students and recent graduates with degrees biotechnology. Among those …

Sub-Saharan farmers are being bankrupted… by a worm

June 1st, 2018 / Huffington Post

The fall armyworm infestation in sub-Saharan Africa is bankrupting farmers who cannot afford expensive insecticides to protect their crops. Struggling farmers are now resorting to selling off their land to the highest bidder. Farmers say the pest, which was first detected in central and western Africa in 2016, has become …

African countries need to push climate smart agriculture

May 30th, 2018 / AllAfrica.com

The World Bank recently launched one of its largest climate smart agriculture initiatives in India. Through this $420 million initiative, the bank expects to reach over 25 million smallholder farmers working on 3.5 million hectares of land. The project will support climate-smart agricultural practices including crop diversification and planting of …

Wheat research discovery yields genetic secrets that could shape future crops

April 12th, 2018 / John Innes Centre, UK

A new study has isolated a gene controlling shape and size of spikelets in wheat in a breakthrough which could help breeders deliver yield increases in one of the world’s most important crops.
The team from the John Innes Centre say the underlying genetic mechanism they have found is also …